Ask Emma

Advice on love and sanity for the 21st century
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Are You a Psychopath? Two new books on the absence of empathy

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This is neat little article in the New York Times about two new books about the absence of empathy. The first, by Jon Ronson, is a book about psychopaths, whom, he points out, are often found in prison and in corporate boardrooms, the other, by a Cambridge psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen called The Science of Evil, […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Do You Have Psychological Immunity: Too much good parenting makes us unhappy too

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Can good parenting be too much of a good thing? Psychologist Lori Gottlieb writing in The Atlantic says so. She talks about the young patients that she sees who come in her office, have great jobs, money, loving parents, great New York apartments, but who complain of being “not happy enough.” Certainly, our expectations are […] [Read More]
Categories: General

A Good Man is Hard to Find: Where did all the male therapists go

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I think we all know that there are good therapists and not-so-good therapists, and also that a good therapeutic experience is very much about fit — I can remember when I was young walking into a therapists office, seeing the quality of the art in the waiting room, and thinking: “Umm…no.” I was younger and […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Your Crazy Mother: She Might Change History

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At one time, this vain and powerful woman would have no doubt believed that her son was… the center of the universe [Read More]
Categories: General

What Makes Good People Do Bad Things: Are we capable of anything?

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As someone who spends most of my day listening to people’s most deeply personal inner lives, there isn’t much that shocks me anymore. That’s good of course. Being shocked is not a very helpful response. But what is also true is that when you get to know people, the things that they do that make […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Bullying and Self-Esteem: It’s bad for mice, it’s probably bad for you

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Not that we need scientific “proof” as such to know that being pushed around and made to feel insignificant is bad for us, but a new study using mice at Rockefeller University managed to create neurotic mice after submitting a few poor trembling creatures to the bullying of dominant mice. Here is a quote from […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Shaken Babies

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Oh dear! According to this little item on Gawker there is a study that has found that the number of cases of “shaken baby” syndrome increased dramatically during the economic downturn of the last couple of years. Basically, frustrated parents taking it out on the children. It happens, and every parent has at least one […] [Read More]
Categories: General

The Problem with Revenge: It should taste sweet, but it seldom does

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There is a moment in a Fellini movie that I find I refer to time and again in my sessions. In the foreground, one of the main characters is talking, and in the background we see a baby stroller. It is against a wall. Into the shot comes a 3-year-old. He is carrying a brick. […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Unemployment Can Kill You

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As someone who has been unemployed twice in my adult life, I know how demoralizing it can be. Imagine then, that 9 percent of working Americans are out of work at the moment, and probably an equal number have given up on employment or are significantly underemployed, and you get the scale of misery and […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Cockpit Parenting: Forget about the helicopter, the new trend is total control

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I’m a little bit sick of the Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Me trend, but what can you do. We are all trying these days to get a handle on the generational strangeness that is going on between parents and children in early adulthood. The overall picture doesn’t seem to be in doubt. Many 20 […] [Read More]
Categories: General